Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Shanna vs. Ann, Round Two

The shopping frustration continues. I'm looking for a couple of pieces to go with a jacket I already have for my meeting with my publisher in New York next week. I have a few skirts that would work, though they're not exactly what I want. But I need a sweater to finish out the outfit because I suspect the tank top with the right color and neckline I already own will be a little light for the climate (and for the indoor climate -- buildings are so overheated in New York that I'll probably have to take my suit jacket off at some point, and then I'd need something more than a tank top on underneath it). I'm looking for a cranberry or wine/plum colored sweater with a scoop or v-neck, designed to fit fairly close to the body. The neckline is important because I have a particular piece of jewelry I want to wear. The jewelry also means I don't want any kind of embellishment, sequins, beading or even fancy cable knitting.

Should that be so hard? I went to five stores yesterday, looking for a suitable sweater and maybe the right kind of skirt. I did find something that would be perfect, at Target, of all places, but while they had stacks of XL sweaters, they had nothing in any other size. The only other thing I found had too much wool in it, so it had me itching just trying it on. I found no skirts in my size. Period. Not just skirts I might like. No skirts at all. (Though I didn't check the sizes on the flounced and tiered velvet and lace skirts. So very not my style.)

Meanwhile, I finally heard back from Ann Taylor Loft. They wanted to know the location of the stores I'd visited where I couldn't find anything in my size. Before I responded, I spent a little time playing with their style finder feature on their web site, looking up random skirts, including those featured in the holiday collection mailer I received yesterday. I looked up at least eight different styles. I found a grand total of one skirt in my size in the entire metropolitan area. The nearest other skirt in my size was more than 200 miles away. The rest were in places like Memphis.

I don't care what size you're talking about, how can you expect to make any money as a clothing retailer with one item in a particular size within a 200-mile radius? And if you had more than that initially but they're all gone except for one item, maybe that could be a sign THAT YOU NEED TO STOCK MORE. Ahem.

Then I looked up items for a Manhattan zip code, just to see what might be waiting for me when I'm there. The results were similarly depressing. Maybe I should just buy a sewing machine. Making my own clothes would probably take less time than having to drive all over creation to find something that fits me.

My wardrobe planning is complicated by the fact that the high temperature for today in New York is higher than the high here. When I think about New York at this time of year, I think about cold, maybe even snow. I've been imagining clothing involving sweaters and hats, possibly boots. Next week may be different, though. I'll have to keep an eye on the forecast. I could do without the snow (I've had my New York blizzard experience, thank you very much), but a little nip in the air wouldn't be bad. I have this hat that I love that I only seem to get to wear when I'm traveling, and I want my chance to wear it this season.

Meanwhile, I'm back sort of on track with the writing. The Internet remains my boon and my bane. It was fabulous being able to quickly find an apt name from Welsh mythology and to get an estimate of the life expectancy of a Labrador retriever. But then there's also that temptation to check e-mail, post to message boards and search clothing web sites by zip code (see above).

Today I get to "meet" a character who's been living off-stage in my head for nearly two years. I have actually written a little of her, in a story I wrote for my own amusement soon after I finished writing Enchanted, Inc. (yes, I was so addicted to my own characters that I caught myself writing fan fiction based on my own work. And no, that one can't be publicly distributed because it gives away some future plot twists. It was something I wrote to work out some ideas and get the perspective of another character.). But this is my first time to officially meet her and see her through my usual narrator's eyes.

But first, I have to do a few errands -- get new contact lenses, go by the dry cleaner, maybe hit one more mall in search of that elusive sweater ...

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